Happy Sunday Funday ya’ll! Between working around the house and helping support Franklin’s Friends, a local non-profit animal welfare organizatio3n, I’m pretty worn out.
Now if you know me, I’m about as cheap as they come. So typically at a new brewery, I shy away from getting flights as you pay twice the money for half the beer!
However, my buddy hooked me up with an IPA sampler from a brewery I had only tried once before, Hop Valley. It has 4 different beers running from East Coast to Hazy, a classic West Coast IPA, and even an Imperial IPA! So I figured I would sample them and let you know my favorites!
The four choices are as follows: Mango Stash, which is a tropical IPA with mango puree. Then there’s Bubble Stash, which is more of a West Coast-style. Next I’ll be trying Stash Panda, which is its Hazy IPA. Finally, I will try the Cryo Stash, which is an Imperial!
Mango Stash: This has great tropical notes on the nose, but when I took my first sip, I go “where’s the mango?” Then it hit me.
The mango comes in on the back end of the taste and blends fantastically with the hops. It’s super light for a 6% beer and goes down easy on a hot summer day.
Bubble Stash: I found it interesting that it bills itself as being built with tropical hops and a touch of resin. It has a more traditional hop aroma, but the taste is a bunch of pineapple hops rounded out with some piney and earthy bitterness.
It’s definitely heavier on the palate than the Mango Stash but is only 6.2%, which is 0.2% higher than it. Not nearly as crushable, but is that really a bad thing?
Stash Panda: Hop Valley is out of Oregon, the heart of Hop Country and crazy high IBU (International Bitterness Units) beers.
However, Hazy IPAs are stereotypically a Northeastern specialty. It has sparkling red grapefruit notes for an aroma but also some unexpected pine.
This Hazy is also relatively clear for what the style normally entails. Finally, the most important part is the flavor. This is a very piney beer with maybe a hint of grapefruit zest. Not at all a “Hazy” flavor profile. By all means. it still tastes good but is not what a Hazy is.
Cryo Stash: For an IPA, this has some nice tropical fruit aromas and just a smidge of bitterness. At 8.7% typically beers need a stronger hop bitterness to counteract the boozy sweetness that will sometimes appear.
The taste is shockingly mellow with some fruitiness, a bit of bitterness, and a little bit of spiced rum. Man, this is one of my new favorite Imperial IPAs. Usually they’re either really boozy, bitter or sweet(or bittersweet?) but this balances all of them exceptionally well. It isn’t crazy complex, but it’s all-around good.
Drumroll, please! From first to last, here is what I think:
- Cryo Stash takes first place.
- This is followed closely by Mango Stash.
- Next in line is Bubble Stash
- Followed by Stash Panda brining up the rear.
All four of these beers were great, but the Hazy really missed the style mark. It’s rare to find a “variety pack” with all great beers. Usually they have one great beer, two flagship (read: middle of the road) beers, and one experimental beer, which can be anywhere from a homerun to a flop. If you see this pack and love hops, definitely pick it up!
Until next time, tight lines and cheers!